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Moreno to close international career
by Ridge Mahoney, October 21st, 2008 7AM

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[MLS] D.C. United's Jaime Moreno will play with the Bolivian national team for the 74th and last time Wednesday night in a friendly against El Salvador at RFK Stadium.

Moreno, 34, has announced his international retirement. He last played for Bolivia Aug. 6 in a friendly against Guatemala and also appeared against Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier late last year after he'd scored two goals in three games at the 2007 Copa America.

"The time has come for me to say goodbye to the Bolivia national team after 17 years," said Moreno, who also played for his country at youth levels. "It's time to step aside and let the new group of young Bolivian players take over. It will be very special for me to play my last national team game in front of all the fans who have closely followed my career in Washington D.C., a place that has been my second home for the last 12 years.

"I want to thank head coach Erwin Sanchez for giving me the chance to come back to the national team, and my family and the fans for their continued support all these years."

A dozen years ago at RFK, he blew past U.S. defender and soon-to-be-teammate Jeff Agoos to score a goal that prompted MLS and D.C. United to buy his contract from English club Middlesbrough. He first played for Bolivia at the 1994 World Cup and bounced on and off the national team since that debut to score 11 goals in 73 appearances, including that goal in a 2-0 Bolivia win at RFK.

He holds the MLS record for goals scored (122) and is one assist shy of the 100 mark. With 10 goals and 10 assists this season, he's reached double-digits in both categories for the fourth time, which ties him with Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis for the MLS record in that department.

Moreno and several other starters stayed behind in Washington while a 15-man roster traveled to Mexico City for a Concacaf Champions' League group match against Cruz Azul Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Telefutura). In four CCL games, United has lost three and tied one and has no chance of reaching the quarterfinals.

Yet it retains a slim hope of reaching the MLS playoffs when it plays in Columbus Sunday in the final game of the season. If Kansas City and New York both fail to win this week, D.C. has a chance; if both of those teams lose, D.C. will sneak into the playoffs by beating the Crew.


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